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Paper Monitor

11:20 UK time, Monday, 15 June 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor spent a lot of the weekend wondering about what makes life worth living. Not that times are particularly difficult, you understand. But what is it that makes life in one part of the world more pleasant than life in another.

In short why should one city (say, Zurich) be ever so desirable, while others, (say, anywhere in the UK) be ever so undesirable.

Oh, don't misunderstand me, this isn't the BBC's verdict. It's that of the FT's star columnist Tyler Brûlé - the only man Paper Monitor has ever known of whose surname needs two ampersands and two semi-colons (an HTML joke, now making its second appearance in these pages). In a survey of world cities published at the weekend, he says Zurich is on top because of "outstanding and still improving public transport... ample leisure activities, including 50 museums and excellent restaurants.... and its airport, which serves 170 destinations and is now in line for a SFr460m (£262m) revamp". Basically the sort of things that really matter to folk like Mr Brûlé who spend a lot of time visiting cities around the world.

Nowhere in the UK made the cut; London - like New York - was excluded because of the "abysmal quality of its transport, public schools and housing stock".

Now all those things Mr Brule (it's really too tiresome to put those accents in again) identifies in Zurich really are very nice to have. And nobody like abysmal buses, schools or houses. But Paper Monitor can't help feeling that the pleasant little things in life make a big difference... the quality of the newspapers, for instance. The easy availability of credit porridge sarcasm. The freshness of the strawberries. The smell of freshly-baked crusty bread.

Personally you can keep your Zurichs, Copenhagens and Tokyos. Paper Monitor likes a place where there are pictures in the paper of a doggie which licks an owl every day.

• Anyhow, since we're talking about where you live, it might be appropriate to say that there have been a number of changes in the way the BBC News website works, meaning people outside the UK now cannot see the front page as it appears inside the UK. This means regular Magazine readers might not find such easy access to Magazine features such as the Monitor, 7 days 7 questions or Clive James. You'll find more about it here on the Editors' blog.

But cunning is as cunning does, and so to get round this new state of affairs, regular readers can bookmark this page - - wherever you are in the world. Or follow us on Facebook or Twitter instead. Nearly 1,300 now on Facebook. If we hit 1,500 by midweek, Paper Monitor might be persuaded to do something embarrassing.

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